Poultry farmers on the platform of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) on Tuesday raised the alarm that farmers in the country are going to lose five million jobs if urgent action is not taken.
The association noted that, if urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains especially maize and Soya beans, no fewer than five million of its members are to lose their jobs soon.
South West General Secretary of the association, Dr. Olalekan Odunsi, made these declarations while speaking at a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Ibadan.
Odunsi, while speaking urged President Muhamadu Buhari and Governors in the South West Nigeria to save the industry from imminent collapse.
Odunsi, while speaking further urged the federal government under the leadership of President Muhamadu Buhari to approve importation of Animal Feed Grade of Maize to sustain the over 50 million layers, 100 million broilers, 1 million breeders, and other classes of poultry until the next harvest season.
In the interim, Odunsi urged the government to enforce a ban on export of Soya beans both seed and the processed meal.
He also appealed to Governors in the Southwest to put much efforts to the cultivation of maize as they have done with rice.
He said, “The Poultry industry in the South West geopolitical zone is over 6 decades growing consistently and steadily to a population of 30 million, a number representing more than 60% of the National Poultry Population.
“In investment, this sector is worth over N2 Trillion Naira. In job creation, it employs over 10 million people directly and indirectly using its wide value chain from farm to field. It is worthy of note that this sector is almost 100% private driven.
“However, if urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains especially maize and Soya, we fear that an industry with such an enviable statistics may suffer a total collapse.
“About July, 2020, the price of maize due to inadequate supply against the huge demand by Poultry Sector and other users, rose from a price of 105000 – 165000. In the midst of this hike in price, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a ban on Forex for the importation of maize which further drove the price to as high as 185000/TON.
Principal among the reasons for the ban was to encourage local production.
‘Yet the acute scarcity and astronomical prices of soya beans and maize threaten an additional five million poultry jobs in the short term except Your Excellency intervenes.
“Presently, egg is going out of the reach of an average family with ideal price at 1300 per crate but the farm gate price is still at 1000-1100 a price that will force farmers to close down.
“The government should approve urgent importation of Animal Feed Grade of Maize to Sustain the over 50million layers, 100million broilers, 1million breeders, and other classes of poultry until the next harvest season.
“In the interim, government should enforce a ban on export of Soya beans both seed and the processed meal.
”The Governors in the Southwest are expected to put in much effort in the cultivation of maize as they have done with rice.”